“But you probably don’t want to hear about that…” you said. You let your voice trail off the way you do when you aren’t sure if I am going to start talking. You were talking about your girlfriend’s youngest daughter, her schoolwork. If you were just a casual friend the dismissal could have been interpreted to mean that every parent has conversations about homework with their teenager and it isn’t terribly interesting so why waste time talking about it.
But you aren’t a casual friend. So, I have spent the last few days wondering what that single sentence meant. Because that’s how we talk. We laugh about old friends and trade “Did you hear that so and so got married?” and “Oh man, I had a sandwich with boursin mayonnaise on it and damn I forgot how much I love that stuff” and in between we say small things that we mean. Things like “You sound happy” and “I’m glad you called.”
“But you probably don’t want to hear about that…”
Why? Do you think that I am not interested in hearing about how you are settling in to a quiet life of doing home projects and arguing with kids about homework and being around at dinner time? I suppose it is fair to assume that it might sting a little. Ten years ago I had imagined that you’d be putting down my hardwood floors, tucking our daughter in to bed and sitting on the deck with me wondering if we’d get one more warm weekend on the beach before fall quickly turned to winter.
I don’t hesitate to talk to you about the kids or my life. It isn’t a secret that I am very, very happily married and I don’t hide that from you. I talk about our daughter throwing a softball with MQD and I know that you’d imagined doing that someday. I know that probably stings a little more than hardwood floors and a seat at the dinner table. I don’t keep my life a secret because I know that in your heart of hearts you want us to be happy. Even if it stings a little.
For almost a decade I have believed that you just never wanted the life that I wanted. It was easier to imagine that this life, the dinner seven days a week at 6 pm and a quiet life raising kids in the ‘burbs just wasn’t for you than to admit that maybe the only part of that life that didn’t work for you was the part that was me.
Maybe that was why you said I didn’t want to hear about your life now.
But you’re wrong.
A person can’t run wild and free in to their old age. Sooner or later they need to slow down. For so many years I just imagined that you’d never slow down. You’d just go at top speed until the end. It is almost as if there is only so much life to be lived and you were planning on living all of yours before you ever hit 50.
I see you slowing down. I see you happy. You don’t have to hide it. Because you know what doesn’t sting at all? You just might be around when Em graduates from high school.
I am glad you’re happy. I am glad you’re slowing down. I am glad I wasn’t wrong when I thought that you might settle down one day. You know I love being right. Turns out I just wasn’t right for you. And I am glad about that, too. Because in the end we’re both happy.
I guess if we couldn’t be happily married than happily divorced will work.